How Long Should A Bread Knife Be?

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Knives can truly enhance your cooking experiences. It is so satisfying to cut into bread with ease. Toasting the piece of bread you sliced yourself perfectly is a real accomplishment. The perfect slice is un-smooshed by the otherwise impending struggle that is almost guaranteed when using a cheap, unsharpened knife. To avoid sending crumbs everywhere and deforming the shape of your loaf, it is crucial to get the perfect bread knife. How long should bread knives be anyway?

Bread and bread knife on cutting board, How Long Should A Bread Knife Be?

A bread knife needs to have a blade longer than seven inches. Bread knife blades are generally no longer than eleven inches.

Bread knives are incredibly unique. There is a lot to know about how to choose a good one. Here we have all the answers. In this article, we’ll discuss how a bread knife is measured, what size bread knife is best, and how to pick a good bread knife. Read on to find out everything you need to know about buying your next bread knife. 

How Long Should A Bread Knife Be?

Rustic bread baked in a wood oven

Bread knife blades are generally seven to eleven inches long. They need to be at least seven inches long to achieve the sawing motion that allows the knife to glide through the bread without applying too much downward pressure on the loaf.

Bread knives are like saws designed specifically for bread. The teeth of the knife help to grip the bread. The serrated gullets in-between the teeth help the blade slice through the bread.

The knife has to be several inches longer than the bread is wide so you can glide the blade forward and back through the bread. The length of the knife allows you to maintain a clean, straight cut. A nice long knife will help you achieve the perfect slice of bread. 

How is a bread knife measured?

The most important thing to know about how a knife is measured is its size is the measurement of its blade. The handle is not included in its measurement. To be more specific, a bread knife is measured from the blade's tip to the heel of the blade.

The heel of the blade is the part of the blade that sits nearest to the knife’s handle. So a bread knife that is seven to ten inches long has a blade that is seven to ten inches long. The handle has everything to do with the users' comfort and utility but is irrelevant when it comes to measuring the knife. 

What size bread knife is best?

With bread knives, the preference seems to lean towards the longer size. Reviews suggest the longer, the better. Because these knives are used to slice not only thick loaves of bread but the occasional melon or squash, the extra length makes this knife more useful.

A ten-inch blade is much easier to slice a wide sourdough loaf with than a seven-inch blade. The extra length does not cause any inconveniences because these knives are meant to cut straight through bread like a saw. So going for a knife with a longer blade, like a 9-11 inch blade, is advised. 

How do you pick a good bread knife?

Close-up of sliced biscotti italian cookies

The only way to know if a bread knife is good or not is by trying it out yourself. If it can slice through a crusty loaf of bread without distorting the shape of the loaf and sending crumbs everywhere, you're onto something. If the knife can slice through soft bread or split a cake in half to fill the center with extra ganache, even better.

If your knife can slice a tomato into thin slices without rupturing the juicy inside of the tomato, that’s a good sign. If it can slice through watermelon and squash without getting dull, it’s doing its job right. If your knife feels comfortable in your hand and it can do all of these things perfectly, then it’s certainly a keeper.  

You might be asking yourself, where do I start? Which knife do I try out first? There are some tips we can give you. These tips have everything to do with physics. 

Sharp Teeth

First of all, you want a knife with sharp teeth. You do not want teeth with rounded edges. A serrated knife is meant to apply extra pressure to food without destroying it. Extra pressure helps the teeth grab onto the food being sliced.

Deep Gullets

Teeth tend to be sharper when the gullets of the knives are deeper. So you’re looking for a knife with sharp teeth and deep gullets. 

Fewer Teeth

The fewer teether there are on knives, the more pressure is dispersed to each tooth. The more pressure distributed into each tooth, the easier the knife will slice. A knife with about thirty teeth is what you’re looking for. 

Gullets with A Thin Serrated Edge

Another thing you want to look for is gullets with a thin serrated edge. The gullets help the knife slide smoothly through food. A thin serrated edge on the gullet means less friction. According to Americas Test Kitchen, a serrated edge of about eighteen degrees is the best. 

You’ll want to decide what type of handle works best for you. Many people like knife handles that feel good while holding them in many positions, while others prefer handles with grip. 

Lastly, as discussed before, the longer the knife, the better. 

Why are bread knives so long?

The reason bread knives are so long is that they slice by drawing the blade back and pushing it forward, much like a saw. Long smooth strokes make for smooth, clean slices. The knife works best when it is longer than the loaf is wide.

This makes it so you can slice it straight through from top to bottom without tilting your knife at an angle. Longer blades are more useful as they can cut easily through the wide things and small things such as the occasional tomato. 

Which bread knife should you buy?

One knife that seems to knock everyone’s socks off and meets all the “perfect bread knife” criteria is the Mercer Culinary Millennia 10" Bread knife. Not only does it slice through any loaf of bread with ease, but it can also handle tomatoes, sponge cakes, melons, you name it! It has a great handle, and it's long. 

Click here to see Mercer Culinary Millennia 10" Bread knife on Amazon.

Tojiro Bread Slicer 270mm F-687 is a vanadium steel knife made in Japan. It has gotten rave reviews from bakers saying they love this knife's durability. It has the potential to cut smooth, strait slices of bread for years. Even put up against some rough crusts, it maintains its sharpness. 

Click here to see the Tojiro Bread Slicer 270mm F-687 on Amazon.

The Wusthof Classic Bread Knife is known for its sturdiness. A sturdy knife helps keep a steady hand while gliding the knife through the bread. It also has good reviews from professional bakers. 

Click here to see the Wusthof Classic Bread Knife on Amazon.

In Closing

The longer the bread knife, the better. A knife that has a blade nine to eleven inches is best. Sure, that may seem long, but the longer the knife, the more bread, and food you will be able to cut with it. 

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